Summary 9

Summary 9

Area of law: Immigration and asylum

Complaint reason(s): Failure to follow instructions

Remedy: To refund fees already paid of £1,200 and to pay £300 compensation

Outcome: Ombudsman decision accepted by complainant

Mrs N had a UK visa and wanted to stay a bit longer. She instructed the firm to extend her visa and paid them £1,200 to arrange this.

On three separate occasions, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) contacted the firm to say that some standard documents were missing from Mrs N’s application. The firm eventually provided the information to the UKBA.

After waiting for the documents to be assessed, Mrs N was upset to learn that her application had been refused.

Mrs N complained to the firm and asked for her money back. The firm denied that she had paid £1,200, saying that only a payment of £250 had been recorded.

We investigated the complaint and said that it was unacceptable that the firm had failed, on three occasions, to send the correct documents to the UKBA. We said that the work carried out by the firm had had little or no value to Mrs N and she should therefore receive a refund of her fees.

We noted that Ms N had been provided with a business card which recorded a payment of £1,200 on the back. We were therefore satisfied that Mrs N had paid this amount and that it should be refunded to her. We also said the firm should pay £300 for the upset caused to Ms N by their poor work, and by not accounting for the money she had paid.

The ombudsman agreed with the suggested remedy, which Mrs N accepted.